Diego Costa was at the center of attention on Saturday when Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Spanish international managed to get Gabriel sent off and was criticized by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the game.
It was built up as a huge matchup between Arsenal and struggling Chelsea. These two teams have no love for each other and the two managers Jose Mourinho and Wenger don’t have the best track record, having several public spats throughout the years. They did shake hands before the match, but it seemed to be more out of necessity than to be happy to see each other.
Chelsea controlled most of the action in the first half, as they seemed invigorated by the mid-week 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League group stage. Late in the first half, a situation occurred where Costa was flinging his arms up in the face of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, and then bumping him with his chest. Koscielny fell to the ground and Gabriel came up to Costa and the two started exchanging words along with some light pushing.
That ended up with referee Mike Dean handing both the Brazilian-born players yellow cards. They kept arguing as play got back underway, but Gabriel took a little cheap shot at Costa who immediately started screaming for referee Dean. Gabriel was shown the red card by Dean and headed down to the dressing room.
How on earth Diego Costa only got a yellow card for this is beyond me pic.twitter.com/sfAoeZwcPy
— Terje (@ArsenalTerje) September 19, 2015
Costa rubs a lot of people the wrong way with his style of play, and Wenger was blunt about his thoughts about the Chelsea striker after the game.
“Big sense of injustice,” Wenger told BT Sport 1. “I think Diego Costa is a red card. “I wouldn’t like to be Mike Dean tonight because I cannot understand the situations. Twice he [Costa] should have been sent off.
“Look at the situation well before the cross comes in, he hits him [Laurent Koscielny] in the face on purpose. He makes a fuss of it. In every game there is aggravation but he gets away with it because of the weakness of the referee.
“We are guilty because we gave in on that and responded to it. We knew before the game that he was only looking for that and when he touches him he goes down like he has been killed.”
Costa’s physical play is always borderline of what’s acceptable, and many time he goes over the line, but somehow still manages to get away with it. Dean had a very poor game as it was clear that Costa should have been sent off for putting his arms and hands up in Koscielny’s face.
What really puts a sour taste in many fans’ mouths is that Costa plays dirty, but he also whines a lot as soon as he’s on the receiving end of a challenge. Gabriel was wrong at lashing out at Costa, and was rightfully sent off, but it’s amazing that Costa wasn’t also shown a red card.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) September 19, 2015
Chelsea took over even more of the game after Gabriel’s sending off and it was pretty clear that it would only be a matter of time before Chelsea would break the deadlock.
Kurt Zouma, who had replaced John Terry in the starting XI, scored his first Premier League goal in the 53rd minute when he gave Chelsea the 1-0 lead of a set piece. Arsenal failed to pick up Zuma who made a good run by the far post and headed in the ball from close range.
Arsenal went down to nine men in the 79th minute after Santi Cazorla picked up his second yellow card of the game. Eden Hazard scored his first goal of the season in added time after his shot ricochet off an Arsenal defender and into the back of the net.
The win was Chelsea’s second of the season in the league, and they now sit in 13th place with seven points ahead of Sunday’s fixtures.